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Stewardship Showcase: Rural Routes to Climate Solutions

Posted March 18, 2020 by LSC

The Stettler & District Community Adult Learning Council received a Watershed Stewardship Grant in 2018 to support their Rural Routes to Climate Solutions initiative. Since receiving the original funding two years ago, the initiative has really taken off. Here’s how the Council is creating a new space for farmers and ranchers in Alberta to tackle climate change issues within the agriculture sector.

Empowering rural communities

In 2018, the Stettler Learning Centre received funding from the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) for their unique Rural Routes to Climate Solutions project. The project recognizes that farmers and ranchers can play a pivotal role in building the low-carbon economy of the future and seeks to empower members of the rural community by providing tools and learning opportunities to reap the benefits of climate solutions for themselves and their communities.

Through a series of workshops and farm field days (including their popular Farming with Biodiversity field day), landowners learned about on-farm climate solutions and climate-positive agricultural land-use practices (including green buildings and energy-use). The workshops provided practical examples of things farmers can do to improve their land, water resources and have a positive impact on climate change.

“Our Rural Routes project was a brand-new idea for us,” shares Derek Leahy, Project Director with the Stettler Learning Centre. “We knew we were on to something special with the project and receiving the WSG funds gave us a boost of confidence.”

Aiming to inspire action by providing information on climate solutions that work best on farms and ranches, Rural Routes has been a real success. Since the project was launched, the Council has hosted more than a dozen workshops, engaging agricultural producers from Athabasca all the way to Picture Butte on climate solutions and positive land use practices.

“Our greatest success lies in the fact that we found a way to have a non-divisive conversation about climate change, creating a space where one didn’t exist before,” explains Derek.

The project also generated a spin-off podcast, which aims to further engage farmers and ranchers in climate solutions. To date, they have produced 29 episodes with over 6,000 downloads and counting.

Continuing the climate conservation

Since receiving the initial WSG funding, the Stettler Learning Centre has continued to increase awareness within the agriculture sector and has garnered additional support from the community and sponsors. They’ve also become a partner in the recently launched Farmers for Climate Solutions, a national alliance of farmer organizations and supporters who believe that agriculture must be part of the solution to climate change. Currently, Rural Routes to Climate Solutions is the only representative from the Prairies involved with this national initiative.

Two years in, Rural Routes continues to build momentum and the project is now expanding its geographic reach beyond central Alberta to other rural communities in the province. In 2020, the Council once again received WSG funding, which will enable them to continue the podcast and expand their efforts.

“Rural Routes to Climate Solutions has grown beyond our wildest expectation thanks to funding from sources like the WSG,” Derek adds.

Check out the Rural Routes podcast and stay up to date with their workshops by following them on Twitter (@ClimateFarmsAB).

LSC and COVID-19

Posted March 18, 2020 by LSC

An important message from Land Stewardship Centre

Like everyone else, Land Stewardship Centre is deeply concerned for the health and welfare of those around us and have taken appropriate steps to minimize risk to our staff and their families, our board of directors, volunteers, stakeholders, partner organizations and anyone else we work with during this unprecedented situation with COVID-19.

Staff continue to work and engage with our board, partners, volunteers and stakeholders during this time, but want you to be aware of how we are doing that to ensure we minimize risk to everyone we connect with on a regular basis:

  • We have had a Work From Anywhere operational model in place for several years now, which has been refined and improved over time and which enables our staff to work remotely/away from our physical offices at Imrie House.
  • Staff have ready and complete access to files, digital resources, email, voicemail and tele/video conferencing so we encourage you to continue to engage and reach out when you need to.
  • Contact us at any time if you have questions or need more information.

In addition, effective immediately and until April 30, 2020 at which time we will re-evaluate our next steps based on the leadership of experts and policies put in place by all levels of government:

  • All events, either initiated by Land Stewardship Centre or which we would have been an active participant at, are cancelled.
  • All face-to-face meetings have either been cancelled or converted to a digital platform.
  • All staff travel is suspended.
  • All staff, board members and volunteers are expected to adhere to the recommended actions to protect Albertans and prevent the spread of novel coronavirus as provided by the Government of Alberta

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